30 January, 2008

Strong quake shakes Indonesia

Strong quake rocks Indonesia's Maluku, tsunami alert sounded

"The quake has tsunami potential because it was shallow, at 23 kilometres. The area that should be on alert is around Timor," Suharjono, from the geophysics headquarters here, told ElShinta radio.

A strong earthquake shook a group of islands in Indonesia Wednesday, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

Meteorologists in Indonesia said the quake had tsunami potential, but the U.S. National Weather Service has not issued a tsunami warning.

"We do not expect a tsunami from this event," said Dailin Wang, an oceanographer for the National Weather Service's Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, told CNN.

The USGS put the earthquake's magnitude at 6.2, but the Web site for the Indonesian meteorological agency showed the quake at a stronger 6.6 and talked about its tsunami potential.

The quake was recorded in Kepulauan Barat Daya, a group of islands in the Maluku province of Indonesia. The islands are located about 262 km (163 miles) from the East Timorese capital of Dili.

Indonesia sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" where continental plates meet, causing frequent seismic and volcanic activity.

The archipelago nation was hardest hit by the earthquake-triggered Asian tsunami in December 2004. Some 168,000 people alone were killed in Aceh province on the northern tip of Sumatra.



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